It started happening a while ago and has been getting worse. I usually workout from 6-7 in the evening (unfortunately can't workout any time before that due to my schedule) and go to bed around 10:30 (3-3:30 hour rest period). My body is very tired but I can't fall asleep. It's a weird feeling, I start to become unconscious but immediately after that I wake up and my body is on full alert (my pulse rate goes up too). This happens several times and could last from minutes to a few hours. But once I do fall asleep, it stays uninterrupted and I don't wake up until the morning after.

I thought the reason could be my high pulse rate, so I went to the cardiologist and they ran several tests including an electrocardiogram as well as ecocardiogram. They were both normal and the doctor said it's probably not the heart.

I've been working out for a while now (mostly weight lifting, rarely any cardio), but it recently started happening as I tried to increase the intensity of my workout. I should probably mention that if I don't workout for a few days, my sleep routine goes back to normal and I don't have any troubles at all falling asleep.

I saw many different articles regarding exercise-induced insomnia but not really sure what else to do at this point. Could it be that maybe my body is low on some particular nutrients? Has anybody else experienced this? It's starting to become an issue for me since it's impacting my school and work life. Any help is appreciated.

  • I think finding the root cause is going to be tough and require a lot of investigation on your part. Have you given anxiety any thought as a cause?
    – rrirower
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 17:01
  • Actually I have. I'm usually not nervous and don't even think about it until it happens. But when it does, I naturally become a little worried. Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 17:03
  • possible duplicate of Relaxing after an evening workout?
    – Daniel
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 18:19
  • I recommend a low-dose course of melatonin for a week or two (~1-2mg per night, 30 min before bed). It worked for me.
    – Daniel
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 18:20

3 Answers 3


I've had this before and although I'm a little cautious to throw the overtraining flag, research suggests there is correlation if not causation:

These individuals became acutely overtrained as indicated by significant reductions in running performance from day 1 to day 11. The overtrained state was accompanied by severe fatigue, immune system deficits, mood disturbance, physical complaints, sleep difficulties, and reduced appetite.

I don't know what kind of routine you're on, and overtraining is hard to nail down as it presents itself at different levels. The threshold of overtaining gets closer and closer to your target volume as you progress in fitness. At the novice level overtraining doesn't really matter, the effects don't last that long, and you'll recover quickly. At the advanced level it can sideline you for weeks. The line between overtraining and your target goals gets very thin.

If you've been working out for a while and you're not already on a solid progression program, you may want to consider moving to one. It maximizes your strength training gains and minimizes your chances of falling into overtraining.

It could be a lot of things, but if the only thing you've modified is intensity and you never had problems working out in the evenings previously, overtraining is at least worth considering.

In the short term you could try using a small (start around 0.5mg) amount of melatonin an hour or so before you want to go to sleep, but that's duck tape on the leak.

If you haven't stumbled across Mark Rippeteo's Practical Programming book I'd recommend it; it offers some excellent insight into this physiology.

  • I'll look into the overtraining thing. Thanks. Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 14:44

I can only speak from experience as someone else that usually works out a few hours before going to sleep.

I often have the same problem, particularly after cardio due to the elevated heartrate, but sometimes after weightlifting too. The best thing you can do for yourself is to establish a night-routine that will help relax your body between a workout and sleep.

Personally, I just read for an hour before I go to bed (preferably fiction, not a technical book). This should bring down all of your vitals and allow you to fall asleep more easily. A cup of decaf tea/coffee also helps. Try to avoid carbs right before bed if you have a post-workout snack/meal. I fall asleep easier if I just eat something with protein like nuts or edamame.

Your muscles will likely be tense after a workout, which can also prevent sleep. To help this, I'd recommend self-massage, otherwise known as myofascial release. This works EXTREMELY well for me, and it's quite relaxing (a bit painful).

Your gym likely has some of these foam rollers in stock. If not, you can purchase one cheap on Amazon.

  • Yeah relaxing before going to bed might help. Will give it a shot. Thank you. Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 14:45

If you are having trouble falling asleep, make sure that you don't have ANY caffeine within 5 hours of bedtime. I have experience with this, as I sometimes have a sip of Coke before I go to bed and I wind up staying up until the caffeine leaves my body.

  • This should be a comment since caffeine does not affect everyone the way it affects you.
    – rrirower
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 14:10

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